Nicknamed “Beervana,” Portland is the beer capital of the world, with 32 breweries in the city limits — 38 if you include the entire metro area. That’s more than any other city on earth.
In July, Oregon’s brewers take their taps to the tents along Portland’s waterfront for the Oregon Brewers Festival.
One of the nation’s premier beer events, this annual brew fest attracts 60,000 microbrew enthusiasts.
Portland is home to several other annual beer events, including the Spring Beer & Wine Festival, the Holiday Ale Festival, and the world’s largest organic beer festival.
Portland’s love affair with beer stretches back to 1888, when local brewer Henry Weinhard offered to pump beer from his brewery (via Portland’s fire hoses) through the pipes of the Skidmore Fountain to celebrate its unveiling.
City leaders, fearing that residents might poke holes in Portland’s only set of fire hoses and help themselves to the beer a bit early, vetoed this generous plan. Today, with more microbreweries and brewpubs than any other city in the world,
Portland is often referred to as the “epicenter of America’s craft brewing movement.” Some 28 microbreweries thrive in Portland. That’s more than one-third of the state’s total. Add in all the pubs offering local microbrews on tap and the number of outlets climbs to 46.
One reason for the success of craft breweries, or microbreweries in Portland, according to Jim Parker, director of the Oregon Brewers Guild, is that Portland has always been a town with great pubs and bars. Portland’s long history of strong draft beer sales allowed the fledgling breweries of the 1980s to gain name recognition without the expense of bottling.
Adding to the strength of Portland’s brewing industry are the unusual flavors and recipes created by local brewmasters. Using an abundance of local ingredients, including rare and flavorful two-row barley, 14 varieties of hops, and glacier water from the slopes of nearby Mount Hood, Portland’s innovative beer gurus have raised the bar of excellence in the world of craft brewing.
… it’s even easier on the last weekend in July during the Oregon Brewers Festival – the largest event of its kind in North America. This three-day froth fest draws 80,000 beer enthusiasts to Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park to sample the nearly 90 beers produced by local, national and international brewers. If you miss this summer event, however, don’t worry. There are additional Portland beer festivals throughout the year.
The Holiday Ale Festival (December) in Pioneer Courthouse Square celebrates the release of seasonal winter ales that are produced by two dozen of the region’s best craft breweries.
Sip BridgePort’s Ebenezer Ale, a Widmer Winternacht or a MacTarnahan’s MacFrostwhile staying toasty inside the festival’s heated tent.
With its clear walls, the tent also affords a front-row view of Portland’s holiday tree, festive lights and downtown window decorations.
As winter begins to fade, brewers – and vintners – gear up for Portland’s annualSpring Beer & Wine Fest (April).
Held inside the airy Oregon Convention Center, this is the nation’s largest spring festival dedicated to the world of alcoholic beverages, including microbrews, wine and distilled spirits.
Offering tastings, product demonstrations, in-depth seminars, music and more, the festival is designed to be both fun and educational.
Bones & Brew (September) pairs the West Coast’s only national barbecue competition with outstanding regional and national beers.
Held at Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, the event features barbecue cook-offs, brews, music, family events and a great riverside setting.
Year-round, Portland’s microbrew culture thrives in the view-and-brew-style theaters run by the McMenamin brothers. At such facilities as the Badgad Theater & Pub (a wonder of Moorish architecture) and the Mission Theater, you can enjoy pizza, beer and a movie (yes, on the big screen) – all at once!